Peter took a step through the gate paused and inhaled the air. Filling his lungs made him light headed, it was the fumes from the traffic but he convinced himself it was freedom. This was it, now was the time to act. Looking intently at the cars, waiting for a break. The cars became unfocused and the eyes of the drivers became some sort of traffic light system. To him they were all red, showing no emotion and no let up. Not one of them went green and gave him the go ahead.
Peter jumped, he felt like he had been given an electric shock. With a bump he returned to reality and stared at the old woman next to him, her hand still touching his elbow. The jumble of words formed a sentence, on auto pilot he nodded to the lady, mumbled thanks but hated her for this touch of kindness, so he headed in the opposite direction of the pedestrian crossing she had pointed out.
A bus created a break in the traffic as it collected its human cargo. Peter dashed across the road staring right not left not caring but analysing the bus instead of the traffic. It was big enough, would do the job but the human element was too great.
With a surprising clarity of mind he started walking, but with a feeling of being pulled towards something. The traffic grew heavier both pedestrians and vehicles but the way was always pointed out to him. A green light, a quieter side street but always heading towards a destination.
He felt he had arrived, didn’t know where he was but this was it. Detaching himself from the world, he stood. Mass humanity passed him by, the shops and offices spewing out people like some bomb scattering its shrapnel in every direction. Slowly it subsided and he became aware of why he had come here.
Pensively he looked around then slowly approached the railing. The cars thundered below, it was far enough below but he knew that although he couldn’t see them, the cars had eyes. Eyes that belonged to someone and eyes that were being waited for. Eyes that would not recover. Eyes that would not see the world in the same way again.
Peter then felt eyes looking at him so he set off again, being drawn somewhere again, time was nonexistent, he had all the time in the world.
The water was black and still. It looked like a huge reservoir of the black gold the city was famous for. It was peaceful and peaceful was good, this was it. There were no eyes in there; there were no eyes behind him. The sorry's had been said, the tears had dried, there was only a peacefulness that was all enveloping, it warmed him, it hugged him and it told him everything was going to be okay.
Peter turned suddenly, expecting the old lady to be touching his arm again. The eyes looked at him full of questions, questions he couldn’t answer. The eyes and arm led him to the van, still peaceful. As the door of the van gently slid closed Peter took a last breath of freedom. The next breath tasted different not free but safe. It was safe air he was breathing again. Safe because the eyes were human, connected to someone who didn’t deserve to feel like he felt.